The 23rd Planetary Congress for the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) was successfully launched in Istana Hotel, Kuala Lumpur this morning. Dato’ Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, Malaysia’s first angkasawan is playing host to this year’s congress with the theme of One Planet, One Hope, One Future. The event was kicked off by the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Higher Education, Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah followed by the first technical session on human exploration titled perspectives of language and culture chaired by astronaut Gerhard Thiele. The congress serves as a forum for astronaut members to interact professionally and develop ASE programmes, importantly motivational talks that will be carried out in 11 universities throughout Malaysia this Thursday 7th of October 2010. The event is a first of it’s kind in South East Asia whereby 61 participating astronauts from 17 countries are gathering to encourage international cooperation and essentially promote education in space science and engineering.